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AH 1253 (1837 AD) dated Kazak or Gendje Prayer rug, Azerbaijan, 0.96 x 1.24 m (3'2"X4'1"). Klein Collection

Turkoman ancestry is evident in this highly unusual Kazak prayer rug, which was purchased by the owner's grandfather as an old rug in about 1900. (Turkish-speaking tribes, particularly Yomut and dated ah 1253 (1837) Chodor, often use octagons in a similar manner in their rugs.) While no analogous Kazak examples are known, similar octagons appear on a group of finely woven prayer rugs assigned to Moghan or Shirvan1, as well as on a Baku rug2.




The sides of the prayer arch extend vertically into the field. This feature, while unusual, is known on a number of rugs of various types. The palette comprises the red, white and blue colours typical of southwestern examples, but green and yellow are also used sparingly and the red has a blueish tinge, tending to maroon.

Although classified as a Kazak, based on structural criteria, the rug has some Genje characteristics. The border, while identical to some Kazak examples, is typical of Genje pieces3, while the geometric "s" forms that dot the field, and the economical use of yellow, green and brown, are also Genje characteristics. The date is difficult to read but can be deciphered as ah 1253, translating to 1837, which, considering the rug's provenance and appearance, is credible.

Technical Analysis:

Warp: white and brown wool, sometimes plied together, Z3S
Weft: red and shades of brown wool, sometimes plied together, Z2S, 2 or 3 shoots
Ends: missing
Sides: 3 cords overcast with a variety of coloured wool

Lit: Ralph Kaffel's Caucasian Prayer Rugs plate 16

1 Assigned to Moghan: see pl. 37, Lefevre 1 Oct. 1982, lot 29 = Hali Decorative: A Buyer's Guide to the best of Decorative Carpets (London 1988), p. 36. Assigned to Shirvan: see Georg Butterweck et al., Austrian Collections, pl 66; Skinner 1 June 1991, lot 172 = Hermann, ATT 4, pl.49; Sotheby's NY 9 March 1994 , lot 3.

2 Hubel, the Book of Carpets, pl. 57 (octagons with Memling Guls)


3 For a Kazak sample see Hubel, The Book of Carpets, pl. 36 = Rippon Boswell 16 Nov. 1991, lot 155. For Gendje, see Hawley, Oriental Rugs: Antique and Modern, pl. 50